, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 204-210

The effect of the first glimpse at a scene on eye movements during search

Abstract

Previewing scenes briefly makes finding target objects more efficient when viewing is through a gaze-contingent window (windowed viewing). In contrast, showing a preview of a randomly arranged search display does not benefit search efficiency when viewing during search is of the full display. Here, we tested whether a scene preview is beneficial when the scene is fully visible during search. Scene previews, when presented, were 250 ms in duration. During search, the scene was either fully visible or windowed. A preview always provided an advantage, in terms of decreasing the time to initially fixate and respond to targets and in terms of the total number of fixations. In windowed visibility, a preview reduced the distance of fixations from the target position until at least the fourth fixation. In full visibility, previewing reduced the distance of the second fixation but not of later fixations. The gist information derived from the initial glimpse of a scene allowed for placement of the first one or two fixations at information-rich locations, but when nonfoveal information was available, subsequent eye movements were only guided by online information.